One thank you hardly seems sufficient. One billion is far more appropriate.
It is with such a deep sense of pride and gratitude that I write these words: We have surpassed the $1 billion goal of our USF: Unstoppable campaign. Your enormous generosity has benefitted our students and faculty in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee in ways we never imagined when the campaign began in 2009. We have been able to expand scholarship opportunities for students, create new environments for research and study, establish new professorships and faculty chairs, and make significant improvements to our physical facilities.
Over the past year alone, more than 49,000 donors contributed $89 million, and our endowment stands at a record $442 million. I can also share with you that we join the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Irvine as the only universities in the country founded in or after 1956 to complete a $1 billion fundraising campaign!
The USF System is so much stronger today, and that says a great deal about the passion of our loyal supporters - our university, our staff, our students, our alumni and our friends.
In addition, we can all share in the exciting news of the transformative milestone reached in the past year - that USF Tampa is now one of only three universities to achieve the standards established by the State of Florida for Preeminence. Since our first student enrolled in 1960, we have evolved from a well-regarded regional university into the elite status as one of the top, preeminent public research institutions in the United States. This is truly a remarkable achievement.
We are a leader in performance-based funding at the state level, thanks to higher levels of student success and scholarly activity. For the fall 2017 semester, the USF System has enrolled the most accomplished freshman class in our history, and we are attracting more graduate students than ever before as we award more than 700 doctoral degrees annually.
Of course, our talented faculty is essential to the success we have achieved. We now have 11 National Academy members, the second-highest number in the state. And, we have established a new record in research, attracting more than $475 million in grants and contracts. There is another measure of our research productivity that reflects our commitment to addressing issues locally, nationally and globally: Over the past three years, USF has been awarded 314 patents. That places us among the top 10 universities in the country granted U.S. Utility Patents.
Our accomplishments are earning important recognition. The highly respected Chronicle of Higher Education named USF the top university in the country for improvement in six-year graduation rates. The Education Trust, a well-regarded non-profit advocacy organization, ranked USF Number 1 in Florida and Number 6 in the country for eliminating the completion gap between white and black students.
Furthermore, The Times Higher Education World Summit Series has selected USF to host its fourth Young Universities Summit in June 2018. This event, which attracts education leaders from around the world, has never been held in the United States. After looking around the globe and around the United States, this group selected our university.
I am so proud of our students, faculty and staff, and so appreciative of your generous support. We have much to celebrate - and yet much more to do. Even with the incredible heights the USF System has reached, we are just getting started.
USF System President
“I was a recipient of the staff ‘Dollars for Scholars’ scholarship when I was finishing my degree at USF. Since then, I’ve enjoyed being a member of the community that gives anonymously to scholarships. Its’ a wonderful feeling to be part of the cycle.”
“After my wife Mattye passed away, I wanted to do something in her memory. I was able to create an endowed scholarship in both our names. I think she’d be very proud to know she’s helping deserving USF students get their education from the university that made a big difference to her.”
“There are kids who get so close to graduation, exhaust their student aid, and don’t have the means to continue. That’s why I support the ‘Don’t Stop, Don’t Drop’ fund.”
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